Douglas A. MacDonald, Manuel Almendro (2021)

Transpersonal Psychology and Science: An Evaluation of Its Present Status and Future Directions

Founded in the 1960s, transpersonal psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology that has been dedicated to the study of exceptional human experiences and functioning inclusive of ancient and indigenous spiritual and mystical traditions. While initially holding tremendous promise to expand psychological science and practice beyond the purview of conventional psychology, the field has encountered a variety of challenges that its advocates have recognized as compromising its progress. Among the most pervasive of these challenges has been controversy and disagreement regarding the place of science in transpersonal psychological inquiry and practice.

Even though some efforts have been made by scholars in the field to address the challenges, these efforts have been largely piecemeal in nature, involving articles or chapters in books that express the viewpoints of individual scholars without a fulsome consideration of multiple perspectives of people throughout the world who identify as members of the subdiscipline. This book is the first in the history of the field to bring together the voices of respected members of the transpersonal psychological community to specifically discuss the relation of transpersonal psychology to science in order to find ways of helping the subdiscipline move forward in a productive manner.

This volume includes invited chapters from a broad array of international experts in transpersonal psychology who proffer interesting and sometimes conflicting perspectives regarding how science fits within the subdiscipline. The book ends with a chapter written by the editors that summarizes and highlights the main points of issue shared by the expert contributors and offers concrete recommendations for how transpersonal psychology can improve itself as a field of inquiry and professional practice.